Gita 14.01 explained

Link to purport by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Srila Prabhupada

Transcript of Bhakti-Shastri class on this verse by Chaitanya Charan

Chp13 Jnana Chakshu Overview 

27 –Everything is a combination of matter & spirit 

28-29 –See everything material equally to attain liberation 

30 -See that spirit is the non-doer 

31 –See that all material variety originates in spiritual similarity 

32 –See that the soul always remains transcendental and doesn’t get entangled and doesn’t act 

33 –How the soul doesn’t get entangled 

34 –How the soul doesn’t act 

35 –Gaining this jnana-chakshu will grant liberation 


So now in this overview the important point is to recognize that this whole analysis is implying a good level of understanding of the modes, anāditvān nirguṇatvāt, the gunas do not affect the soul or the soul remains transcendental to the gunas, and before that also it is told that because of contact of Gunas the soul becomes bound so in 13.22 in Bija Vakya as it is often being called 

puruṣaḥ prakṛti-stho hi
bhuṅkte prakṛti-jān guṇān
kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya

So kāraṇaṁ guṇa-saṅgo ’sya, because of the association of the three modes, what happens because of it? sad-asad-yoni-janmasu, that one meets good and bad in various species, so that means guṇa-saṅga is the cause of bondage and the soul is originally nirguṇatvāt, transcendental and when soul goes beyond the influence of three modes the soul becomes free from bondage. So basically the modes are critical factor which bring about the bondage. We can’t say they are the cause of bondage the cause is bhuṅkte, the cause is the soul’s desire to enjoy the material world but the way in which the bondage is executed is through the modes so recognizing this enables one to develop some seriousness in knowing what are the modes. So modes are the mechanism by which soul is bound within the material existence.

So the transcendental soul’s existence in material nature will be explained, this topic has not been explained anywhere in Gita, in detail. Earlier it was talked about how one should stay detached while practicing spiritual life, while living in the material worlds also. While doing once professional duties, Varnashram duties how one should remain detached and how one can transcend that is talked about, but here how the bondage takes place, through the instruments of the modes that is described in the 14th chapter.

Chp14 Overview

1-13: How the soul is conditioned by the modes

1-2: Glorification of the knowledge

3-4: How the soul contacts matter

5-9: How the modes bind the soul

10-13: Identifying the modes dominating us by their principal characteristics

14-18: Effect of conditioning by the modes

14-15: Long-term effect (Post-death destination)

16: Medium-term effect

17: Immediate effect

18: Direction of post-death journey

19-27: Transcending the modes


So like 7th 10th and 9th chapter the first section talks about the glorification of the knowledge, means how this knowledge is valuable, why it should be heard, what is the benefit. 


Bg 14.1

śrī-bhagavān uvāca
paraṁ bhūyaḥ pravakṣyāmi
jñānānāṁ jñānam uttamam
yaj jñātvā munayaḥ sarve
parāṁ siddhim ito gatāḥ


śrībhagavān uvāca — the Supreme Personality of Godhead said; param — transcendental; bhūyaḥ — again; pravakṣyāmi — I shall speak; jñānānām — of all knowledge; jñānam — knowledge; uttamam — the supreme; yat — which; jñātvā — knowing; munayaḥ — the sages; sarve — all; parām — transcendental; siddhim — perfection; itaḥ — from this world; gatāḥ — attained.


The Supreme Personality of Godhead said: Again I shall declare to you this supreme wisdom, the best of all knowledge, knowing which all the sages have attained the supreme perfection.


paraṁ bhūyaḥ pravakṣyāmi, paraṁ, highest / transcendental bhūyaḥ, again, pravakṣyāmi, I am speaking 

That transcendental is jñānānāṁ jñānam uttamam, so that transcendental is the best among the all forms of knowledge 

So again I am speaking this yaj jñātvā and what will happen by this? munayaḥ sarve, the great sages, parāṁ siddhim ito gatāḥ, they have attained the Supreme destination, parāṁ siddhim.

Why Krishna has used bhūyaḥ, again, He has not talked about three modes of material nature in detail before, but the analysis of three modes calls in culmination of devotional service, and that devotional service Krishna has mentioned earlier, so in technical detail this knowledge is not spoken before but in terms of conclusive action plan the knowledge has already been spoken.

yaj jñātvā by knowing this knowledge great sages has attain liberation.

So it is interesting Krishna has not used Bhaktah here instead He is using munayaḥ because Bhaktas need not have to know this kind of analytical analysis of three modes they will have some basic philosophical understanding but this chapter talks about how munis take to devotional service. Why Munis will practice DS, remember that from 13 to 18 chapter is how one can rise from Jyana level to Bhakti level. So one can rise from Jyana level to Bhakti level by recognizing the potency of DS intellectually. 

So this 14th chapter will talk about three modes but after that it will come to the conclusion that one should practice DS. And that come not because one has spontaneous connection with Krishna but one recognizes that DS is the best means to gain liberation from material nature, there is significant difference between the two as we have levels like fear, desire, duty and love, at which people can approach God, similarly there are multiple levels at which people approach DS e.g. they may not approach DS not because of love but because of knowledge at the level of duty that also fine as it is mentioned Yene Kena Prakarena Manah Krishna Nivashiyet so this chapter the focus is on the analysis of the modes that how the bondage between modes are so complex, so difficult to break free from, then one recognizes that by taking shelter of Krishna one break free from this. So munayaḥ, these Munis were agitating minds so they will attain shelter of Krishna by transcending the modes.

End of transcription.

Author: Vallabhi

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